Monday, November 12, 2012
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
by Ashlei Williams, Robert R. McCormick Communications intern
McCormick Foundation intern, Alyssa Niese, presented research on civic learning policy that has interesting implications for the Journalism Program’s work in news literacy.
During Niese’s presentation, she defined civics as the fostering of active and engaged citizens. She noted a national absence of civics caused by insufficient language in state constitutions and regulations of the "No Child Left Behind Act."
Since as early as 1997, organizers have brainstormed solutions for civics education. One of the initiatives recognized is Illinois Civic Mission Coalition’s Democracy Schools, which requires curriculum evaluation, extracurricular opportunities and
student government. Niese pointed out five ways that civics education could be improved in schools:
These suggestions reflect recent academic discourse on how to improve journalism electives and programs in secondary schools. According to Elia Powers, a professor at American University’s School of Communication, journalism class requirements began disappearing when national achievement standards changed.
- Require civics coursework
- Add professional development workshops for teachers
- Develop project-based assessments in schools
- Implement service learning curriculum
- Commit to the Democracy School model
The McCormick Foundation Journalism Program has been actively supporting after-school journalism
programs and news literacy education through in-classroom coursework.
In an interview with Education Week, noted education author Frank Baker said, "Media literacy is not an add-on: it is simply a lens through which we see and understand our world."
The McCormick Foundation Civics Program conducted evaluations that showed that students found discussions and projects about current events particularly stimulating. Program evaluations also revealed that interactive methods are more effective with students than lectures. Also, research from National Assessment of Educational Progress Civics Assessment suggests that civics education can engage students and help them score higher on standardized tests.
There are numerous barriers to restructuring civics and journalism curricula, such as measurement of student comprehension and budgeting for new media technology as Niese and Powers noted.
The McCormick Foundation’s Journalism and Civicsprograms are working to improve education in schools and communities.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
by Sara Slaughter, Education Program Director
The McCormick Foundation applauds Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s August 3rd announcement of a three-year investment in early education that will allow about 5,000 more young children in Chicago to enroll in quality
preschool. In a nod to research showing that children with access to quality early education have higher graduation rates and lower school drop-out rates, Mayor Emanuel’s decision demonstrates his commitment to education choices grounded in evidence. And, in a time when politicians are often accused of being short-sighted and thinking only of the next election, this decision defies that skepticism, looking out at least 10 years and acknowledging that Chicago will be a better place
if we start children on a path that leads to better academic outcomes and increased civic engagement.
The McCormick Foundation is proud to have contributed to this effort with a grant supporting the
development of the competitive process for quality preschool services for vulnerable children. Programs will be evaluated under the competitive process for quality as well as neighborhood need. Read the Mayor’s full press release.
Monday, August 6, 2012
by Clark Bell, Journalism Program Director
The McCormick Foundation is among the leading journalism funders calling for reform of journalism education.
In an Open Letter to University Presidents, the foundation leaders recommend a 'teaching hospital' model that blends professional practice with research and scholarship.
The release of this letter was timed to the annual meeting of the Association for Education and in Journalism and Mass Communication, which begins August 9 in Chicago.
Journalism and communications schools need to recreate themselves if they are to succeed in playing their vital role as news creators and innovators, a group of foundations said in an open letter to university presidents.
The foundations, all of which make grants to journalism education and innovation, urged more universities to adopt a model that blends practice with scholarship, with more top professionals in residence at universities and a focus on applied research.
"In this new digital age, we believe the 'teaching hospital' model offers great potential," as scholars help practitioners invent viable forms of digital news that communities need, said the letter, signed by top representatives of Knight Foundation, McCormick Foundation, Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, Scripps-Howard Foundation, Brett Family Foundation, and Wyncotte Foundation.
The model was described in the 2011 "Carnegie Knight Initiative for the Future of Journalism Education" and is practiced at the Arizona State University, where student-powered News21 has become a major national news source. But it is by no means widespread.
The funders said they would support efforts by The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications to modernize standards, including the integration of technology and innovation into curricula, and would not support institutions that were unwilling to change.
"Simply put, universities must become forceful partners in revitalizing an industry at the very core of democracy," it said. "Schools that favor the status quo, and thus fall behind in the digital transition, risk becoming irrelevant to both private funders and, more importantly, the students they seek to serve.
Schools interested in the 'teaching hospital model' could start by reading the Carnegie Knight report and New America Foundation’s report on journalism schools becoming community content providers. The University of Missouri boasts the nation’s oldest journalism program, runs a community newspaper as well as commercial television and public radio stations where journalism students learn by doing. Other examples of student-produced journalism include Neon Tommy at USC, the Medill News Service from Northwestern University, Mission Loc@l by UC Berkeley students, reesenews at the University of North Carolina and the New York World by Columbia University students. Universities also may apply to participate in News21. -- By Eric Newton, senior adviser to the President at Knight Foundation